Dolly Parton Used ‘I Will Always Love You’ Royalties to Boost a Black Neighborhood

The country music star says she bought a Nashville office complex with Whitney Houston in mind

dolly parton whitney houston
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Dolly Parton will always love Whitney Houston and she’s adamant about making her proud, namely by investing those lucrative “I Will Always Love You” royalties into property in a Black community. 

The country legend appeared on “Watch What Happens Live” on Thursday, where she answered an array of questions about her life and career. 

At one point, host Andy Cohen asked Parton about the best thing she has ever bought with the royalties she earned from “I Will Always Love You,” the power ballad she wrote and performed in 1973 before Houston’s cover from “The Bodyguard” soundtrack became a worldwide smash in the ’90s. 

“I bought my big office complex down in Nashville. So I thought, ‘Well, this is a wonderful place to be,’” Parton said. “I bought a property down in what was the Black area of town, and it was mostly just Black families and people that lived around there. It was off the beaten path from 16th Avenue and I thought, ‘Well, I am gonna buy this place — the whole strip mall.’ And I thought, ‘This is the perfect place for me to be,’ considering it was Whitney.

“I thought this was great — I’m just gonna be down here with her people, who are my people as well,” she continued. “So I just love the fact that I spent that money on a complex and I think, ‘This is the house that Whitney built.’ “

According to Forbes, Parton made about $10 million in royalties from the Grammy-winning torch song in the 90s alone. 

Houston tragically died of a drug overdose in 2012 but Parton continues to speak on her immense admiration for the pop diva behind hits like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “Saving All My Love For You.”

Last year, she regaled Oprah Winfrey with the story of hearing Houston’s version for the first time.

Parton, speaking on an episode of the Apple TV+ show, “The Oprah Conversation,” explained that at the time of its release she was driving home from her office, when the song came on the radio. 

“I was shot so full of adrenaline and energy, I had to pull off, because I was afraid that I would wreck, so I pulled over quick as I could to listen to that whole song,” Parton told Winfrey. “I could not believe how she did that. I mean, how beautiful it was that my little song had turned into that. So that was a major, major thing.”


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